If Not Us, Who

by Andres Veiel

If Not Us, Who


In the early 60s, Bernward Vesper and fellow university student Gudrun Ensslin begin a passionate love in the stifling atmosphere of provincial West Germany. Dedicated to the power of the written word, Bernward and Gudrun found a publishing house whose first publication is, paradoxically to many, a controversial past work of Bernward's ostracized father, an infamous Nazi author. Bernward defends his father's writing ability, even if he is haunted by his father's suspicious past. Gudrun, too, vehemently questions her own father's role during Hitler's Third Reich. Sensitive to the increasing restlessness of the times, the fiery couple lash out at the conformism and denial around them. After their tumultuous relationship nearly ends due to Bernward's infidelities, they start anew with a move to West Berlin in 1964. Joining forces with leftist writers and political activists, they become part of the spreading global uprising: "If not us, who; If not now, when?" But discontentment with the world takes its toll on their tumultuous relationship. By the late 60s, Gudrun has joined rebellious Andreas Baader's pro-violence cause and Bernward risks his sanity by using psychedelic drugs in his struggles to finally write the novel committed to changing the world... Based on the emotional true story of an explosive era.


Andres Veiel, born in Stuttgart in 1957, is among the most important German directors. Parallel to his studies in psychology in the 1980s, he completed an extracurricular program in film and theater direction at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien under the tutelage of Polish director Krzysztof Kiewlowski. His cinema debut WINTERNACHTSTRAUM was followed in 1994 by the prize-winning documentary BALAGAN, in which he features the Judeo-Palestinian theater group Akko. In his very personal film THE SURVIVORS (1996), he explores the stories of three classmates who committed suicide. In the much-acclaimed BLACK BOX BRD, he compares the CV's of the RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams and victim of RAF, banker Alfred Herrhausen. In 2004 Veiel completed ADDICTED TO ACTING, his long-term documentary observation of for actors from the Berlin Academy of Dramatic Art Ernst Busch. His theater piece THE KICK about a brutal torture-murder in the Brandenburg village of Potzlow, performed in the Maxim Gorki Theater of Berlin and Theater Basel in 2006, was also turned into a film. IF NOT US, WHO? is Andres Veiels first feature film.



2011: If Not Us, Who (Wer wenn nicht wir)
2006: The Kick (Der Kick)
2004: Addicted to Acting (Die Spielwütigen)
2001: Black Box BRD
1995: The Survivors (Die Überlebenden)
1993: Balagan
1991: Winternachtstraum


August Diehl - Bernward Vesper
Lena Lauzemis - Gudrun Ensslin
Alexander Fehling - Andreas Baader
Thomas Thieme - Will Vesper, Bernward's father
Imogen Kogge - Rose Vesper, Bernward's mother
Michael Wittenborn - Helmut Ensslin, Gudrun's father
Susanne Lothar - Ilse Ensslin, Gudrun's mother
Maria-Victoria Dragus - Ruth Ensslin, Gudrun's sister


Writer & Director: Andres Veiel
Cinematographer: Judith Kaufmann
Hansjörg Weißbrich 
Costumes: Bettina Marx
Production Manager:
Mark Nolting
Music: Annette Focks
Paul Oberle
Art Director: 
Christian M. Goldbeck
Line Producer: 
 Anne Leppin
Co-Producers: Carl Bergengruen, Stefanie Groß (SWR), Jörn Klamroth (Degeto), Andrea Hanke (WDR), Anatol Nitschke (deutschfilm)
Producer: Thomas Kufus 
A Production of
zero one film

In co-production with Deutschfilm and Senator Film Produktion, SWR, DEGETO, WDR
Funded by
the FFA, BKM, DFFF, Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, MFG, FFHSH, Hessian Broadcast-Filmfund

Technical Data

Format: 35mm / 1:2,35 CinemaScope / Dolby Digital
Length: 124 Min.
Original Language: German

Original title: Wer wenn nicht wir


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If Not Us, Who
If Not Us, Who

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